It is now two weeks since Valentine’s Day. And right on cue, people are getting dumped, as exasperated significant others are desperately pressing the detonators they regrettably didn’t hit before the gauntlet of Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year’s-Valentine’s. It’s great for the sexbag business.

But take heart, ye broken-hearted: spring is but a short three weeks away, and you have a full season until summer hits and you need to look good in a swimsuit so you can get naked with people you just met. Plenty of time to get in the gym and get in “My next girlfriend will be WAY hotter” shape.

Now, on to your questions:

Dear KSK,
Relationships: The girl I had been dating for a year and a half recently broke up with me. This actually wasn’t all bad because I had been unhappy with how much we argued and how she didn’t like my friends. I felt like I couldn’t break up with her, though, because her sister died about 10 months into dating her and I didn’t want to put her through anything else and just felt stuck. I did love her but there were just some things I could not stand about her. Also she broke up with me over a text message. When I tell people that, they say I should be mad about it, but I couldn’t be happier. I’d much rather get to just read a text than have to get dressed, go meet somewhere, and then have to talk and talk and watch her cry. I really feel like it could not have been a better breakup.

Well sure. Of COURSE getting broken up by text message is the best way to get dumped if you don’t even want to be in the relationship.

I’m 24 and I still want to go out every weekend with my friends and have fun. She is 26 and wants to settle down and play house and start a family and I was just unwilling to give up more than 2 or 3 weekend nights a month of not going out. She always said I needed to grow up but I really don’t want to right now. I work 40 hours a week and have a college degree. I don’t think it was wrong of me want to unwind with a few drinks on a Friday night but she just never seemed to get that. Am I just not ready for a relationship right now or if this girl was the right girl for me would I have wanted to ditch my friends and be with her every weekend? When I am ready to start dating again what things should I look for in a girl considering where I’m at right now in my life? Also my ex hated me playing fantasy football. Probably better off without her right?
-Tim

As a 24-year-old college-educated male, you are under limited, if any, societal pressure to settle down. If anything, going out and drinking with friends is the best thing to do right now, as it’s much more acceptable to be the 24-year-old single dude getting drunk with his buddies than it is to be, say, the 38-year-old divorced guy perving on younger girls — which is exactly what you would have ended up being if you’d acquiesced to “growing up” at your girlfriend’s admonition.

Nevertheless, you can be young and unburdened of monogamy while still showing a lot more self-awareness than you do in your email. To wit: your ex doesn’t want to “play house.” She wants to commit to a relationship that will provide her comfort and support for the rest of her life and — more pressing — children before it becomes an inherently riskier prospect in her 30s. You’re plenty old enough to understand that women don’t have the biology or the societal lassitude to dawdle when seeking a mate, so if you’re going to date one who’s OLDER than you, don’t bitch about her reality getting in the way of your good time. (Oh yeah, and her sister died young, so she probably has an even more acute awareness of not fucking around and getting down to having a family.)

Sure, she may have nagged and pestered you about your preferred lifestyle, but that’s only because you were as deaf to her desires as she was to yours. You’re not the only one who’s better off now.

**********

Dear Fellow Member of the Russell Wilson Fan Club,

Member? I am the club’s secretary, sir.

Meetings are the third Tuesday of every month during the offseason. Bring hors d’oeuvres.

Fantasy: I joined a second league with coworkers this year. They’ve been playing for about five or so years, and they have a seriously fucked up scoring system: 1 point for 20 rushing/receiving yards, but 4 points for 100+ yards, meaning that a player with 99 yards scores 4.95 points but a player with 100 yards scores 9. Similar situation with QBs (1 pt/45 yards, 300+ yard bonus), and since TDs are worth 6 points this creates some really insane scoring situations. Often the highest scoring player on a team in a week is a kicker.

What the fuck. If you want to gamble on random variance, go stick your money in a slot machine. Don’t apply it to your fantasy football league. It’s already hard enough to start the right players every week.

How do I get my coworkers to switch to something approximating a normal scoring system (like 1 point/10 yards and no bonuses)? I’ve worked at the job for almost six years, so it’s not like I’m a total newbie, but I did just join the league last year.

You have to build a coalition of the sensible. Politely grill the commissioner about the “reasoning” behind the scoring system. Acceptable responses are “bath salts” and “oh my God, SO much meth!”

Unacceptable responses: “it makes it more exciting” and “we want to reward breakout games.” Regarding the former, it is probably exciting to break into a house and steal all of someone’s money; that doesn’t mean it’s advisable. As for the latter, the notion of a “breakout” game is inherently flawed from a numerical perspective. In Week 2 of 2012, Eli Manning threw three interceptions in the first half against the Bucs, and the Giants went into halftime lucky to only be down 24-13. The hole forced the Giants to throw all throughout the second half, and Manning finished with 510 yards and three touchdowns to go with the three picks. Manning’s fantasy numbers are already awesome despite a terrible first half; why does he get an added bonus for surpassing an arbitrary number?

The ideal of fantasy football is to approximate some semblance of reality — it attempts to mathematically determine that the performance of your players any given week is better or worse than your opponent’s. And while giving individual statistics a competitive numerical value is admittedly an imperfect system, there’s no sense in prescribing yardage bonuses, because it only FURTHER bastardizes the approximation of reality to which fantasy football aspires. Fuck that noise.

Sex: I’m 29. For the majority of my life, I was somewhere between 30-60 pounds overweight. Through a combination of diet, exercise, and just getting my shit together I am now actually pretty fit. That said, spending most of my life overweight has meant that I have some issues when it comes to sex and body image. I’m seeing a therapist to deal with some of that, but the basic issue I have is this: most of my life there was no chance of me sleeping with very attractive women. Now it seems that I can (and have, a few times). Yet almost all of the people around me (friends, similarly-aged family members) are settling down, getting married, etc.

Basically, I feel an urge to sow my wild oats, especially with the kinds of women who the old me had no chance with. Shallow and perhaps not befitting my station in life, but it is what it is. Previously, I’d felt like I was ready to settle down and commit, but as this current physical incarnation of me is still rather new I’m not sure I’m ready to give up casual sex. Thoughts?
-Wish I’d Done this at 20

Your situation isn’t unusual at all. Whether it’s losing weight as an adult or getting a late growth spurt as a teenager or a makeover in a new environment, there’s always some lag time in grasping your new reality. While other people just see you as a fit person, your brain is still programmed to think of yourself as the fat kid.

Anyway, you seem to have a pretty healthy outlook, both mentally and physically (props on going in for therapy). For the time being, enjoy the more attractive spoils of your hard work. You’ll settle down when you settle down; it’s nothing to worry about in the present.

**********

Dear KSK,
Fantasy Off-season Question: So here’s my dilemma; I’m moving into year two of a keeper league, and last year I got to keep the Gronker for a 16th rounder as he was a FA pickup the year before (I know, most people hate that style, but league voted for it). So moving into this year he would cost a 14th rounder to hold on to, which is ridiculous value. But with all the broken forearms and surgeries and shirtless dancing, do I need to consider the possibility of keeping Ridley for a 6th rounder?

No. Even if he’s only healthy for, say, ten games, Gronk in the 14th round is still giving you much better value over the average tight end than Ridley can net you for a 6th rounder. Besides, do you really want to dump Gronk for injury concerns in favor of a running back? A running back dies on the field, like, every other week.

Sexy time: Pretty much good on that front. Been dating a great girl for about a month and a half now, no real issues so far. So in recompense, hopefully Jennifer Lawrence being adorable at the Oscars will suffice.

- Kid-Tripping Coach

Love the reaction, sad about what it’s regarding.

**********

Dear The Real Captain:
FANTASY: Won my League Championship with Peyton Manning and Arian Foster (been my keeper for a while now) carrying me throughout the season, and a Week 17 DeAngelo Williams pickup (yes, we go all 17 weeks in our league.) My question is- what rookies should I look at for the upcoming draft? Last year, I drafted Andrew Luck as my backup QB and he was a solid Plan B in case Manning’s neck would have gotten messed up again.

I appreciate you giving me a fantasy football question in the offseason, but it’s simply too early to even think about. Like, the draft is at the end of April, at which point we will all still have FOUR MONTHS to think about which rookies might have an impact. So let’s table this one until then.

SEX/RELATIONSHIP: More of a dating/relationship question: Met this wonderful girl online (she messaged me first, imagine that), been out with her a couple of times, talk all the time, and we were supposed to go to a BBall game together (we’re both hardcore WVU fans…) But, several days before the game, she informs me that her mono relapsed and couldn’t go. It didn’t catch me off-guard, because throughout the past few weeks she told me she has been absolutely tired, went to the doctor 2x, got meds, was scared to give a blood test, can’t taste food, only wants to sleep (not to mention hasn’t been real talkative lately), yada yada yada. Had a friend explain to me just how bad mono was.

Oh, MONO! I originally read it as “her MOON had relapsed” meaning she was some kind of astrology weirdo. This would have made your story a lot more interesting, by the way.

Told me her college roommate had it, and all her roommate wanted to do was sleep around the clock for quite a few days, getting up only to piss & try to eat.

This is the first time she had to cancel, and perhaps I’m looking way too much into this, but if she’s legitimately sick, then that’s fine, her health is the most important thing.

Yeah, no shit her health is the most important thing. Great work, doctor!

But, there’s always the very small possibility that she’s not being up front with me.

Sure, and there’s always the very small possibility that when my wife tells me she’s tutoring a student after school she’s sneaking off to have an affair. Or that my co-workers are conspiring to get me fired. Or that my friends are talking shit behind my back. But I don’t suspect those things are happening because (a) I’m confident in myself and the relationships I have, (b) worrying about unlikely scenarios is an expressway to an early heart attack, and (c) I’m not Richard fucking Nixon.

Also, to note, I did send her flowers on Valentine’s Day (wasn’t a dozen roses… just a few) along with a bag of her favorite chips (corny, I know. I almost ate them on the way to delivering them to her place of work.) Again, am I looking too much into this and give her the benefit of the doubt? I just need the opinion and insight of someone a little smarter than me.

Thanks,
Jeff

You’re dating, in your own words, a “wonderful” girl who expressed interest in you first. If every piece of information you have suggests she has mono, and she cancels a date because she says she has mono, she probably has fucking mono. Give her a break, McCarthy.

**********

Email from a girl! Yay!

Hi,

Sex: I’ve written in before. Once, you answered my question about a guy who was kind of stringing me along without even posting it, I dumped the guy, and then proceeded to meet pretty much the greatest guy ever. So thanks!

I live to serve.

Background: Barry and I have been dating for almost a year and a half now, and we moved in together in September. We are very much in love, he’s my best friend and vice versa, etc. I honestly can’t see myself in a future without him.

The overlong description of my situation:

Email from a girl. Sigh.

Barry is an ex-Marine who did a tour in Iraq and Afghanistan. He came home in August 2011, and we met shortly thereafter. Since then, he’s been going to school to be an EMT and firefighter, but failed to sign up for classes this semester in time because he’s a dumbass.

This means none of that sweet, sweet GI bill cash, so he’s been living off his savings, which are actually pretty sizeable for 24 year old ex-Marine. He’s still “bleeding money,” as he says, and his big plan right now is to put off being a firefighter/paramedic to join the Air Force Reserves. His brother is in the Reserves, and is the one telling him it’s a great idea.

Barry is telling me that it’s mainly because he wants a purpose in life again, that the firefighter thing wasn’t even what he really wants to do, he wants to be a paramedic, and he’ll be able to afford the $8,000 school to do so with money from the reserves.

I understand all this, and I support him, because it seems like it’s actually what he wants to do right now, and it’ll probably be better for us in the long term, because we won’t be trapped in my terrible tiny ass hometown because he’s strapped to a firehouse here.

I also understand his desire to not work some bouncer or security job somewhere because those jobs are terrible. He’d make like $3500/mo while he was down there, which is nothing for us to sneeze at.

However, my main concern is the 8 months that he’ll be living in San Antonio going to “school” or whatever to be an Engineer. That, and the year of active duty he’d have to do afterwards where he’d be leaving for probably weeks at a time.

Yes, I realize long-distance relationship questions are dumb, but I figure this one is a little different because it’s for a set amount of time. Light at the end of the tunnel and all that.

He maintains that he’s not going to cheat on me, I shouldn’t be worried about that, but I’m a pretty paranoid and insecure person, and I just don’t know if I’m going to be able to deal. I really don’t want to ruin our relationship by calling and texting him a shit ton while we’re apart, or freaking out because I’m worried something’s going on.

He also has quite the history of breaking up with girlfriends from when he was in the Marines: he lived at 29 Palms and would start relationships with girls at home and then dump them a few months later to fuck girls in Vegas and shit.

Oh for fuck’s sake. Unless you’ve been to 29 Palms, it is IMPOSSIBLE to understand how desolate and miserable that place is for a young, single Marine — particularly an enlisted one living in the barracks on base. Dumping a long-distance girlfriend BEFORE fucking girls in Vegas is just about the most gentlemanly thing in the world for someone in that scenario, and holding that “history” up as a reason to wring your hands makes as much sense as worrying about him killing you because he served in a war zone. How he’s treated YOU, personally, during the time that the two of you have dated is the only history that you need to take into account.

I would move down there with him for at least the summer since I have school off, but I’m supposed to get an internship/externship type thing this summer to boost my resume, and I have another job up here waitressing. Obviously I can go visit him, he already said he’d pay for it, but as you can imagine with school, work, and an internship, I’m going to be quite busy. Thus, visits will probably be limited.

Any advice on how to deal with this stuff?

The G.I. Bill doesn’t just apply to college. It also covers trade schools, so Barry doesn’t need to join the Air Force Reserve at all. Hope that helps.

This got way lengthier than I wanted, sorry. To atone for that and the lack of fantasy question:

-Jill

That’s certainly a step in the right direction.

**********

Dearest Baron of Bourbon,
Football First, as it’s the least of my problems at the moment: Keep 3 of Rodgers, Forte, McFadden, Harvin. I’m thinking of dealing Harvin for a pick over injury issues, but thats also reason to deal McFadden.

Rodgers and Forte for sure. And I’d rather have Harvin than McFadden. Harvin’s biggest problem seems to be the occasional migraine, which is a pain in the ass but not the weekly frustration of McFadden’s twine-bound legs constantly snapping.

Simply keepers, no penalty for rekeeping etc. Then 1 rookie of Rod Streater WR OAK, Vick Ballard RB IND, LaMichael James RB SF, Josh Gordon WR CLE, Alshon Jeffrey WR CHI. I’m leaning towards Ballard or Gordon depending on whether I keep 2 RBs or want to keep a WR. We start 2WR, 2RB, flex. Obviously I didn’t win last season with these guys on my team.

I suppose Vick Ballard is a solid choice and the likely #1 RB for the Colts moving forward, but I’d go for LaMichael based on talent and the system he’s in. Sure, Frank Gore has held on longer than I ever thought he would, but the Niners are good enough and run the ball enough to make James an attractive option even IF Gore remains the #1 back and stays healthy. Which he won’t.

I don’t have sex questions at the moment, because my girlfriend of 5 years broke up with me yesterday, 2 days short of my 28th birthday, and is moving out on Friday. Still in a bit of shock, but not totally out of the blue in retrospect. A bit of backstory,

Mailbag rule of thumb: “A bit of backstory” means “A lot of backstory”

then 3 questions that are on my mind in the aftermath. Hopefully at least one turns out to be interesting!

Hope is not a course of action.

First few years were amazing, then things changed. Already introverted, as I get older I go out less because friends are settling down. She used to dislike going out, but in the last 6 months has began going out more and more to a point where even my friends wonder whats up with her lately as it’s been drastic (3-4 nights a week then sleep in until noon). I did all the cooking and nearly all housework, only asking her for 1/3 of house costs and I look after the rest until she is done with school.

Sounds awesome. I guess people can’t do chores if they’re in school?

She was always mature beyond her years (we are 5 yrs apart)

So mature that she couldn’t do any cooking or housework!

until the past year when she’s been turning into the stereotypical 19yr old party girl that she had no interest in being at that age. She decided that a guy who expects a bit of help around the house and won’t go clubbing with her isn’t something she can handle right now, which being a very logical and reasonable person, made no sense to me.

So I guess I have 3 questions:

1. She is bipolar. Some scary stuff early on, but once she got diagnosed and on proper medication, she was alright. I’m the only one who knows about 90% of this (her mom basically ignored the diagnosis and said she was fine. 3-4 therapists heavily disagree, as do I). I remind her daily to take her medication and eat properly, as left to her own she isn’t great at looking after herself.

“mature beyond her years” lol ok

I’ve spent countless hours in hospitals with this girl, and still truly care about her wellbeing regardless of relationship stuff. Do I bring this up with anybody? I worry her new roommate will get her back into drugs, which were an issue before being diagnosed. Do I keep in touch for a bit and if I see anything troubling, then decide to step in and talk to someone about it? I figure I’ve got 2.5 yrs of getting over this by your 6 month/year equation so not sure if tapering to make sure she will be ok is such a bad idea in this case?

Please allow me to step in with some all-caps tough love: SHE BROKE UP WITH YOU. SHE DOESN’T WANT YOUR LOVE.

Her problems are her own now. If you choose to try to help her, you’re actively choosing to keep stress and drama in your life. You get to remind her to take her medicine and deal with bouts of depression and rescue her from the problems she creates, all without getting her romantic love in return. Oh, and because you’re in contact with her, you won’t be working to get over her. If all of that sounds like a shitty way to live, that’s because it is.

I repeat: her problems are her own now. She rejected you; she no longer warrants the benefit of your care.

2. She moved in with me 4 yrs ago to avoid moving back home broke. I kept track of finances, understanding it’s a loan.

Holy shit have you made some awful decisions.

I have a decent job and am a saver, while she’s bounced between crap jobs and being a student with debt because I helped her out when her parents didn’t. I stopped tracking a year ago assuming we’d get married, but after writing that off I’m owed $6500 from before. Being led (as recently as last week) to believe she’d like to get married when she’s done with school, I bought a house a year ago and was waiting for her graduation to propose.

This is you:

I own all our stuff, so I can’t just buy things off her to make up the difference and make a clean break.

Well, you CAN make a clean break. You’ll just be out six large.

With her student loan coming due in 2 months, I’m unsure of how to handle this. Do I just write it off as a huge mistake?

Buddy. Whether or not you get your money back, it’s still gonna be a huge mistake.

Ask for it all at once and maybe her parents will help her out (they do well, I always wondered why they wouldn’t help her in the past and forced me to).

Maybe they wanted her to actually earn some money and struggle to get by on her own instead of just leaning on whoever would help her out.

Sorry, I’m not helping, am I?

Ask for a certain amount back per month? I bought the house knowing I could afford it on my own should something happen like this, and don’t want to come off as petty, but $6500 goes a long way.

This isn’t the same as asking for an engagement ring back (or an iPad, even). This is a big sum of money for things you bought for her over the course of four years — an “understood” loan that was, of course, never put on paper. That is not actually a loan. A closer comparison would  be keeping all the receipts from dinners and movies you paid for over the course of a courtship and billed the woman for 50% of it after she tells you, “We had fun, but I just don’t see this as a long-term relationship.”

Relationships cost money. When you date someone who’s under-employed and TOTALLY NOT AT ALL MATURE FOR HER AGE (never mind bipolar) for several years, they cost even more. Sure, you can ask for your money back, but at what cost? I’d argue that you need her out of your life more than you need that $6500.

3. How do you recommend telling friends and family? They’ve long assumed we’d get married, and it isn’t something I’d like to talk about, but don’t want to lie to anybody. Just wait until asked and say we aren’t together and I’m not ready to discuss it? Or be proactive? They’ve all known her for 4+ years, so it isn’t a Te’o situation where I can say she died and hope nobody ever asks questions.

Tell them this: she broke up with you because she apparently didn’t like that you were taking care of the house and meals while she wasn’t paying her share of the housing costs. And even though she owes you more than $6000 you’ll probably never see again, it’s a pretty small price to pay if it means avoiding marriage to someone who would have wrecked your life.

(LIFEHACK: marry someone responsible and gainfully employed and without a personality disorder.)

I’ve been reading the mailbag for years, been working on myself the past 2yrs (no need to be dumped to improve yourself!). I was 215lbs, down to 180lbs through eating smarter, and became a good cook and have lots of hobbies. I’m independent, no problem filling my time between work and other interests.

Meeting people is harder, since I’m not outgoing and don’t have coworkers or many friends locally. I plan to join some intramural sports, as getting out of the house can’t be a bad thing and meeting people may come naturally from that. I haven’t really dated as I never had a real connection with anybody until her, so I think down the road I would try online dating to find somebody with similar interests, which seemed to be my downfall here. Any other suggestions?

All the best,
99 problems and a girl is most of them

You seem to have a good grasp on moving forward. I have only one suggestion: cut her out of your life and DO NOT take her back. She is exactly one depressive streak away from crawling back to you and telling you she made a mistake. Goddam right she made a mistake — one that set you on a better course in life.

You have your shit together: KEEP your shit together by finding someone else who has her shit together, too. When you’re in a relationship where the other person gives as much of herself to the relationship as you do, you’ll look back on this ex and think, “Jesus, I dodged a bullet there.” Don’t move back into the bullet’s path.